The Environment Agency required a series of detailed modules to train ecologists in the identification of aquatic macro-invertebrates, from generalised environments such as rivers, stillwaters and wetlands, to the species level.
The Environment Agency collect many samples of aquatic macro-invertebrates, which they largely identified at the family-level. However, being able to identify samples at the species level is crucial to improving the Environment Agency’s understanding of the distribution of species, which is becoming increasingly important with the onset of climate change. Species level identification is also an important factor in accurately assessing the impact of environmental pressures such as drought, pollution, and the presence of invasive species.
To help learners develop these crucial identification skills and techniques, we created a modular elearning resource, where each module builds on the learner’s knowledge. The first modules familiarise the learner with general identification principles and processes, while later modules concentrate on specific sets of invertebrates.
As this topic has a strong focus on practical skills and techniques, we designed each module to consist of a workbook that learners can print out and use as their benchmark when they’re undertaking routine analysis of macro-invertebrate samples. This also allows the learner to complete their species-level identification training while performing their regular work activities.
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— Chris de Felice National Training Advisor Environment Agency